Posted by: realifemermaid | November 3, 2013

You swim when? Where? How much?

Somehow what I posted last night (via iPhone..) got all deleted.  Oops.  So here I go again….

I was inspired by another blogger and by the conclusion of the cross country season to post about my training schedule, because it is a frequently asked question with a somewhat complicated answer.

I swim with two teams:  a US swim team, much like one I grew up swimming with when I was younger, and a super awesome master’s club located an hour and a half west of where I live: Windfall Aquatics.

The US team has nine practices a week: five afternoons, three weekday mornings, and Saturday morning.  During cross country season, I spend more time running and coaching and less time with morning practices.  After cross country season is over, I have more time and energy to make it to a few of the morning practices.  Practices with the US club are two hours long, a good variety of sprinting, stroke work (hence the butterfly!) and trying really hard to keep up with amazingly fast swimmers who are half my age.  Which is good for me.  I love how practices are organized, too…we have a low-key masters group and the fastest adults swim in a lane right next to the fastest kids….usually, but not always, doing the same workouts.  It is a fantastic layout for someone like me! I like to swim with the kids, but after teaching high school all day long, not necessarily socialize with them during the entire practice.  Most other adults get out after the first hour, but lately a few masters swimmers have been staying later.

I usually miss Saturday practice to swim with Windfall Aquatics.  This group is a bunch of crazy, whacked out people who swim way to long and have enticed poor innocent me into joining them.  Workouts with Windfall Aquatics (TW) are generally 10-12,000 yards or a long open water swim….either way, I can plan on swimming for at least 3 hours, being in quite a bit of pain, and loving every minute of it!  The TW crew is quite accomplished, boasting top finishes of the TBMS, local distance swims, and hopefully some of my teammates will be going to the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.  We are part of the Greater Tampa Bay Open Water Swimmers (I totally just made that up, but it is true)…swimmers from other teams that will also get together to train with us, including Ron Collins, recently crowned Triple Crown swimmer who introduced me to the group in the first place after I refused to swim the Tampa Bay Frogman without a wetsuit.  Also my friends Amy and Ann, from other area teams but are consistent swimming buddies of mine that have been doing this marathon swimming thing way longer than I have and are super awesome ladies!!!

Having such a strong community of supportive swimmers is the only reason why I am still swimming in the present moment.  When I first moved to Florida a few years ago, it was difficult to swim without feeling like I was part of a bigger picture.  Even though my big crazy marathon family lives far away from me, they helped redirect my purpose every time I got into the pool, and really got me to mature as a swimmer.

Last year in the TBMS, only six people finished.  I don’t think it was coincidence that five out of the six finishers were from Tampa Bay (yes, it was a Tampa swim…but people came from all over for the race).  Even the two Tampa area swimmers that did not finish were very close under some of the worst conditions for that swim ever.

l I am proud of the people that I get to swim with every week, both at home and over on the west coast, and grateful for being included into both teams.  There is absolutely no way I could try to achieve my swimming goals without just even just one group, or even worse, neither!

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